What does “Mabuhay” mean?
The word “Mabuhay” is a Philippine expression that has many meanings: cheers, welcome, may you live.

What are those plants in the mural?
There are two plants in the mural: kalamansi and sampaguita. The kalamansi is a citrus fruit—a small lime—that is widely used in Philippine cuisine. In some provinces of the Philippines, the kalamansi plant is offered to those in mourning at a funeral. The sampaguita is a kind of jasmine plant, known as the national flower of the Philippines and is a symbol of purity and renewal.

Why isn’t there a Philippine or U.S. flag on it?
While both flags are important symbols that carry a lot of significance for many people, the intention behind the mural design was to position the welcome message of “Mabuhay” in plants that grow in many other countries, especially the Global South. The hope was to have imagery that felt authentic to the Philippines, but recognizable to non-Filipinos who live in the Woodside neighborhood.

Why did you choose those colors?
While collaborating with the owners of Amazing Grace Restaurant and Bakery, the suggestion was to use colors based on the Philippine flag: blue, red, white, and yellow. Compromises were made throughout the creation process. The final color decisions were largely based on the limited access to art materials in the midst of city-wide shutdown in April this year.

Why did you make this mural?
For more than ten years, there had been attempts to have a Philippine mural in the Little Manila neighborhood. This was an effort to finally achieve that goal, and to also enact creative placekeeping to represent the values of the Filipino community.

What inspired the design of the mural?
The visual vocabulary is rooted in the history and landscape of the Philippines. The typography is based on lettering found on jeepneys; the illustration style of the plants is based on Malay batik design from Mindanao, Indonesia, and Malaysia; the gold in the linework is an homage to goldsmith artistry of precolonial Philippines.

Why didn’t you cover the entire wall?
The limited time, budget, and resources determined the square footage of the final design.

Who is this mural for?
The mural is intended to bring color and beauty to the neighborhood—not to endorse any organization, business, brand, or agenda.

How were you able to do this?
The Little Manila Queens Bayanihan Arts project received a $20,000 grant to create public art interventions in the Little Manila neighborhood of Woodside, Queens for The Laundromat Project’s 2020 Create Change Program. In January 2020, we visited Amazing Grace Restaurant and Bakery and proposed the mural, with the intention of painting the mural later this year. However, during the COVID-19 crisis, the artist decided to create the work sooner.

How much did you get paid to do this?
$3,000 of the $20,000 grant was allotted for this mural project—the entirety of it was used to cover the cost of materials and transportation to and from the work site. The group of artists donated their time and skills to the project.

What does the text below the mural say?
On the bottom right corner of the text reads: “‘Mabuhay’ is a Philippine expression of many meanings: cheers, welcome, may you live. The mural was painted for the community by Diane, Ezra, Hannah, Jaclyn, and Xenia. This is a Little Manila Queens Bayanihan Arts Project, made possible by Amazing Grace and supported by The Laundromat Project.” On the bottom left corner is the dedication: “For Joy” — the feeling, and the name of the artist’s mother who is a nurse, a small business owner, and also an artist.

Why is the text so small?
One of the goals of the mural is to have people view it in person to fully appreciate the details of the work. 

Where can I find the name of the artist who created the mural design?
The artist firmly believes in sharing credit with every person who helped paint and does not want to promote her name on the community mural. For any inquiries regarding the work, the artist can be reached through